[Editor’s note: the rise of the racist Right in Germany in the Sept. 2017 election once again demonstrates the weakness of a centrist politics whose only holy principle is compromise in order to get or hold power.
The Real Price of Trump’s Venezuela Sanctions
By RYAN MALLETT-OUTTRIM, August 25th 2017
economic crisis 2017
Five hundred and sixty seven thousand dead children. That was the death toll of international sanctions on Saddam’s Iraq, according to a 1995 study published in The Lancet by researchers from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation. The conclusions of the study were shocking: five years after sanctions had been first implemented, UN humanitarian workers found a once rich, oil producing nation wracked with famine. The sanctions were aimed at pressuring Saddam, though in reality their impact was felt most by the poorest Iraqis. One researcher found that around a third of children under the age of 10 in Baghdad showed signs of stunted growth, while 12 percent were in urgent need of immediate medical attention due to extreme malnutrition.
FIRE AND RIDDLES AT HAMBURG
Berlin Bulletin No. 130, July 10, 2017
Victor Grossman, Berlin
The concert hall in Hamburg’s wonderful new Elbphilharmonie edifice resounded with Schiller’s thrilling Ode to Joy and world brotherhood in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Nineteen heads of state were there for a G-20 conference; only Erdogan from Turkey was missing; he may not appreciate Beethoven or was too busy worrying about the huge peaceful march to Istanbul, a first major response to his repression. All other leaders and their spouses heard the music; even Donald Trump was seen for a TV moment with half-closed eyes, in euphoric enjoyment of Beethoven, we assume. Or why else?
Editor’s note: As in all articles published by Tikkun, except our editorials, Tikkun does not necessarily agree or endorse the views we publish. We choose our articles to present views that are rarely aired in the mainstream media and which might contribute to the healing and transformation of our world that Tikkun seeks. But we don’t have staff or resources sufficient to ensure that the views and facts presented in our articles are accurate or that they will for sure lead to the world we want. Sad, but with a total of 2.5 people working at Tikkun, it’s the best we can do!–Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor
US Imperialism: Changing Direction?
By Zoltan Zigedy
Developments over the last few weeks further remove the fog obscuring the foreign policy objectives of the US ruling class. A series of seemingly unrelated events casts light on the goals of US policy makers in an era of intensifying international rivalries.
There was another picture of her at their wedding. Two young boys in coffee-colored suits stood behind them, holding guitars way too big for their bodies, surrounded by a crowd of what must have been a hundred, their priest dressed in white toasting them with a big glass of red wine.
March 6, 2017
Reader response to Martha Sonnenberg’s Kaddish for Che:
Querido Che: Che está Presente
by Nancy Scheper-Hughes
The spiritual and political afterlife of Che, like the afterlife of Jesus of Nazareth, begins with their brutal torture and deaths at the hands of ignorant soldiers, colonizing forces, and local collaborators. Both faced their capture and deaths with equanimity, gentleness, and love. Both were given opportunities to surrender and save themselves, but both acquiesced to their fate, remained true to their beliefs, and faced their executions with words of comfort and of love. Che: “I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, you are only going to kill a man… please, tell my wife to remarry and try to be happy.” Jesus: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Editor’s note: Here is a perspective from the U.K. which presents an overview of how some British Muslim progressives are trying to make sense of Trumpism, the British exit from the UK’s previous integration into the Common Market, and the growth of right-wing movements manipulated by elites of wealth and power.
The Fear and the Passion
By Tahir Abbas
Since the inauguration of President Trump, barely a month ago, many people around the world have been deeply disturbed by his many negative utterances, provocative put-downs of other countries, and by the people he has appointed to run major elements of the American government. The result has been a global outcry among women, the young, minorities and liberal-minded people at the narcissism and self-centred nature of much of President Trump’s limited but impactful words. Right-wing extremists have felt empowered by a form of triumphalism reflected in Trump’s repeated theme ‘to make America great again’. The impact this has on minority communities of all backgrounds, but especially among Muslim and Jewish groups, are painfully felt. In this short essay, I explore the depth of this upset and discuss what it means for communities with shared norms who would otherwise not be allied.
Collective Evolution December 23, 2016
Pope Francis: capitalism is “terrorism against all of humanity”
Once again, Pope Francis has made global headlines, shocking reporters late Sunday after blaming the “god of money” for the extremist violence that is taking place in Europe and the Middle East. A ruthless global economy, he argues, leads disenfranchised people to violence. Responding to a question from a journalist about whether or not there is a link between Islam and terrorism, more specifically addressing the fatal attack on a priest by a Muslim extremist in France last week, Pope Francis said, “Terrorism grows when there is no other option, and as long as the world economy has at its center the god of money and not the person.” “This is fundamental terrorism, against all humanity,” he continued. “I ask myself how many young people that we Europeans have left devoid of ideals, who do not have work. Then they turn to drugs and alcohol or enlist in [the Islamic State, or ISIS],” he said.
Editor’s Note: Our correspondent from Berlin gives us a picture of the dangerous rise of fascistic and racist forces and the problems faced by a splintering Left. Might this be a warning sign for politics in all the capitalist countries in the coming decades? To understand his analysis, remember that the Linke party is probably the most progressive in Germany, next most are the Greens, and the SPD (social democrats) are much like the Democratic party in the U.S.
BERLIN AND OMENS
2016 September 22
There is currently too much dramatic news abroad in the world, mostly bad. What can an election in one single city mean, far from most fronts? Yet the voting in Berlin last Sunday (September 18th) was full of drama and meaning, also outside Germany. The results caused some to grieve, some to applaud and analysts like soothsayers to turn to arithmetic.
The impeachment of a dignified and innocent President by a mentally and financially corrupt pack
Once upon a time there was a nation that was great in terms of her territory and her cheerful people who, nevertheless, were unjustly treated. The people suffered misery mostly in the great peripheries of the cities and deep in the interior of the country. For centuries it had been governed by a small wealthy elite, who never cared about the fate of the poor. As a mulatto historian put it, the people was socially«castrated and castrated again; bled and bled again». But slowly Brazil’s poor began to organize, in every type of movement, accumulating social power and nourishing a dream of a different Brazil.
by Tikkun’s correspondent in Germany, Victor Grossman
BERLIN BULLETIN No. 115August 15 2016
Soul-searching is often on the agenda for people who long for peace, better lives for everyone and for the rescue of our planet. November 8th in the USA is one case in point, but I refrain here from announcing my own decision in my New York, a “safe” state. Germany also demands soul-searching – not only with the refugee question. On the national level, stout, commonly self-assured Sigmar Gabriel, head of the Social Democrats (SPD), is less popular than ever and so is his party, now down to 22 % in the polls.
Editor’s Introductory Note: The vote by a majority in the UK to exit from the European Union (Britain exiting, now called Brexit) is actually a cry of pain by the working people of Britain, and a reflection of the growing pain that will shape the social and political lives of our world in the coming decades till that pain is fully addressed. Unfortunately, the media and the ruling elites refuse to take responsibility for the global mess they’ve been making. Instead they seek to put the blame on a sudden surge of ultra nationalism and hatred of immigrants. But this is a distorted picture that seeks to blame working people’s fears on their own reactionary ideologies, and misses the way the ruling elites of the society, the !% of richest people and their millions of allies in the upper levels of banks and corporations, media, academia, law, government and politics, who have developed a neo-liberal economic strategy that has resulted in massive loss of jobs and a triumph of the values of materialism and selfishness in daily life, are actually now trying to blame everyone else for the global mess they have made. Don’t get taken in by the media and the politicians and their superficial explanations–read the two articles below please!
In case you who missed it, here’s Rabbi Lerner’s talk at Muhammed Ali’s funeral. His vision is all the more relevant given the horrific killings in Orlando and the way it is being used to promote fear, hatred and Islamophobia. It has gone viral on social media and inspired over a million people already. If it inspires you as well, please read below for how to be an ally with Rabbi Lerner to help build the world he describes.
From Tikkun’s Berlin Correspondent Victor Grossman
BLUE SKY IN HAMBURG AND PIE IN HANOVER
Berlin June 6 2016
I’ll begin with a happy report. The Hamburg group of “Fighters and Friends of the Spanish Republic 1936-1939” had its annual get-together in late May, again honoring those bravest of the brave men women who risked and often lost their lives fighting for democracy in Spain. Only a handful survive, none at all in the USA, Germany or Austria, but a video greeting from Gert Hoffmann in Vienna, who came to these meetings until shortly before his death, was especially moving. A boat trip around the harbor and a visit to a seaman’s club hidden in the amazing labyrinth of piers and channels in the giant port facilities, with a fine worker’s choir and militant songs, offered chances for German and foreign participants to exchange ideas on past and present. There was a fascinating mix of accents of people from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, various regions of England and the USA and that of the good German translator.
Editor’s Note: This article shows how near impossible it is to sustain a populist regime without dismantling the institutions of global capitalist society. In sober and careful analysis of what happened in Brazil, the author shows how the compromises and being “realistic” with existing power relations in capitalist society finally undermined the very noble intentions of seemingly radical reformers. Before the Coup: 13 Years Under Lula, Dilma and the PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores), 2003–2015
MATTHEW J. MEDRANO·TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2016
The following is meant to serve as an exhaustive overview and analysis of what transpired under the PT (Workers’ Party) administrations of Luís Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-06 and 2007-10) and Dilma Rousseff (2011-14 and 2015-2016) prior to the May 2016 parliamentary “soft” coup that removed Dilma from office (the fallout will be covered at the end with updates). With regard to the data included below, one cannot stress enough the fact that both achievements and contradictions should not be underestimated (nor, in the former’s case, exaggerated either). Romanticization is antithetical to properly grasping things at the root.